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December 14, 2012

Cape Town has a beach for every reason

With soft, white sand and clear water stretching as far as the eye can see, Cape Town’s beautiful beaches attract thousands of holidaymakers keen to keep their cool during summer.

Whether soaking up the sun or taming a wave, hooking a big one from the rocky shore or galloping on horseback along the sand, there’s a beach suited to every beach-orientated activity imaginable.

Windsurfing
Bloubergstrand (“blue mountain beach”) is known as a kitesurfing and windsurfing hot spot, thanks to large waves driven by the Cape’s south-easterly winds. Premier venue Big Bay plays host to annual surfing contests. Find it: a 20-minute drive north from Cape Town, along the West Coast.

Swimming
Dubbed the St Tropez of South Africa, Clifton’s protected beaches are ideal for sheltered sunbathing and swimming, especially when Cape Town’s south-westerly wind is howling. Clifton’s fourth beach attracts Cape Town’s bronzed beauties, while its second beach is a cool hangout for students. Find it: along the M6 route from Cape Town, or use public transport to get there.

Surfing
Clifton’s first beach has waves suited to surfing; or for longboarding, Muizenberg is ideal and Big Bay in Bloubergstrand offers bigger surf. Find it: Clifton is along the M6 route from Cape Town, or use public transport to get there.

Sunsets
Lazy afternoons and stunning sunsets are best enjoyed at Blouberg, Sunset Beach, Camps Bay, Llandudno and Hout Bay. Find it: along the Cape West Coast, north and south of the city.

Popular
Camps Bay, Sunset, Three Anchor Bay, Fish Hoek, Long Beach and Hout Bay offer swimming, snorkelling, diving and surfing. Find it: along public transport routes.

Au naturel
Naturists should head to Cape Town’s famous nudist beach, Sandy Bay, to join like-minded beachgoers. No refreshments or ablution facilities are available. Find it: take the coastal path from the parking lot at Llandudno.

For the kiddies
Families with children might prefer a swimming pool facility such as at Camps Bay, Long Street, Elsies River, Hanover Park, Mnandi Resort (Strandfontein) or the Sea Point Pavilion.

Snorkelling
Fish Hoek’s long beach is a favourite spot for swimming and snorkelling, and is one of the safest on the False Bay coast. Find it: on the False Bay coast.

Bodyboarding
Kommetjie, Kalk Bay, Sunset and Big Bay are popular among serious bodyboarding types, but social riders can be found anywhere out of the wind where there's a fairly decent wave. Find it: Kalk Bay is around the corner from Muizenberg.

Horse riding at Noordhoek by Flickr member MauritzV

Pink
Clifton’s third beach is a particular favourite among the gay community. Find it: along the M6 route from Cape Town, or use public transport to get there.

Penguins
Not far from the village of Simon’s Town, Boulders Beach is the chosen nesting place of 3 000 highly endangered African penguins. Find it: ask in Simon’s Town for directions.

Sightseeing
Jager’s Walk leads over the rocks and along the coastline, offering a wonderful sightseeing vantage point. The more energetic might like to keep going all the way to Simon’s TownFind it: south of Fish Hoek.

Fishing
The Cape Peninsula, with its wild waters, is an ideal game-angling locale. For fish like tuna, the False Bay ledges are a good spot, while Rooikrans in the Table Mountain National Park offers an abundance of different species. Rock angling from Kommetjie or the Kalk Bay harbour is likely to land good eating species like galjoen, steenbras and stumpnose. Find it: follow signage to the Peninsula or head south along the West Coast to Kommetjie.

Horse riding
Long stretches of deserted sand at Noordhoek are as inviting to the horses as they are to the riders. Salty wind and stunning mountain vistas make riding along this beach – from the base of Chapman’s Peak to Kommetjie – a memorable experience. Find it: take the West Coast route south from Cape Town.

Hot tips
Before heading out for a day in the sun, pack sunscreen, a sun hat and bottled water. Leave valuables behind, and pay attention to lifeguards and shark spotters if you’re going swimming.

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